Transformative Juilliard President Will Step Down After Three Decades

Joseph Polisi | Photo by Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Joseph Polisi | Photo by Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

The New York Times | By Michael Cooper

One of the most influential offstage figures in the New York arts world is stepping down. Joseph W. Polisi [’73MM, ’75MMA, ’80DMA], who transformed the Juilliard School during three decades as its president, announced on Wednesday that he plans to leave the post in June 2018.

Mr. Polisi, 68, has kept Juilliard at or near the top of any list of the world’s most important conservatories. And during his tenure as the school’s longest-serving president, he instituted a number of sweeping changes to adapt to big shifts in the worlds of culture and education at a time when the job market for even the best-trained artists was more uncertain than ever.

Mr. Polisi built Juilliard’s first dormitory to foster a sense of community at what had always been a commuter school; oversaw the school’s expansion during Lincoln Center’s recent renovation; and added programs in jazz studies and historical performance.

He proved himself a prodigious fund-raiser: The value of the school’s endowment fund had grown to about $930 million as of June, from about $63 million soon after his arrival in 1984. And in recent years, Mr. Polisi has started a series of sometimes controversial projects to create fresh revenue streams for the school, including building a new Juilliard in China. …


Published October 13, 2016
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[ students & alumni ]

Yale awards Honorary Doctor of Music degrees to Joseph Polisi, Ralph Stanley

Joseph Polisi

At Yale’s 313th Commencement Exercises on Monday, May 19, the University awarded honorary degrees to twelve “individuals who have achieved distinction in their fields.”

Among these awards were two Honorary Doctor of Music degrees, awarded to Joseph Polisi ’73MM ’75MMA ’80DMA, and Ralph Stanley. MORE

Published May 28, 2014
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Joseph Polisi ’80DMA awarded Sanford Medal

At the Yale School of Music’s 119th Commencement today, alumnus Joseph Polisi was awarded the Samuel Simons Sanford Medal. The highest honor bestowed by the School of Music, the medal is awarded for distinguished service to music.

Polisi was awarded the DMA degree from the Yale School of Music in 1980, after earning his MM (1973) and MMA (1975) degrees here as well. He also holds a degree in political science from the University of Connecticut and one in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Joseph Polisi became the sixth president of The Juilliard School in 1984. An accomplished bassoonist, he has performed as both soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, including performances at Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall. MORE

Published May 21, 2012
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